Originally scheduled for December 6
She is 62
years old. She lives in a room — well, really a cell — with seven
other women. She is serving a 14 year sentence; given the incentives
offered, she will probably serve another 11 years before being
paroled. She will be 73 years old when she gets out, at the
well ask what she’s doing there. What particular crime puts a woman
away at that age for that long? It seems that about nine months ago,
in a drunken blackout rage, she took a butcher knife to her husband.
This was made worse by the fact that this was a second offense. Her
first conviction was for manslaughter which is, of course, a crime
in which someone dies. The State of California takes a rather dim
view of these things. California is not particularly noted for
providing luxurious facilities for prisoners, male or female.
background, there are two facts which you might well find quite
Amazing fact number one: she is a Christian. She had wandered from
the faith, but a few months ago a group of Christians visited her
and hundreds of others in a county jail. She was restored to the
faith and has been trying to live that faith ever since. In prison
ministry, you see things like this quite often.
Amazing fact number two: her husband forgave her. It doesn’t affect
her sentence, or her guilt. But it is a powerful testimony: if Jesus
can forgive me, who then is it that I cannot forgive?
There is very
little more that we know about her, and much that we could know. But
you now have the essentials of the matter.
I can almost
hear the voice of an elder’s wife from the church we use to attend.
I mentioned a similar circumstance, and in a shocked tone of voice
she told me, “no real Christian would ever go to prison.” Really? Do
you remember a fellow by the name of Paul? A man who persecuted the
real Christians, some of them persecuted to death. He was called by
Christ and later on found himself in prison for the faith. He
understood this quite well. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. It
doesn’t matter who the “lost” might be; he died for all of us. As
one Bible teacher once put it, “there is only one qualification you
have to meet before you can become a Christian. You have to be a
sinner first. And some of us (blows on fingernails, polishes them on
shirt) are exceedingly
that’s why the commandment to take the Lord’s Supper is given to all
of us, not just those of us who are respectable. We are commanded to
take it because we are all sinners, all of us in His church — and
therefore it symbolizes our unity. We are commanded to take it
because it shows that we have been given the grace of God, out of
his great love for us. We commemorate his great love in his
sacrifice on the Cross, for he died for all of us. So as you partake
of communion this morning, remember what your Savior did. Look at
the bread and see his body; look at the cup and see his blood.
Examine yourself, and see if you need repentance — and someone’s
forgiveness. Do this in the worthy manner commanded. You do not know
if this is your last Communion; none of us is guaranteed tomorrow.
If it is, should it not correctly reflect both your sinfulness and